What Are Two of Jacques Cousteau's Inventions?

July 28, 2022 3 min read

Jacques Cousteau's inventions have been studied throughout history, and two of his most famous innovations are the Calypso-Phot camera and Demand regulator. You may also be familiar with the Turbosail system and the Demand regulator, among other things. But what are the two most important inventions of Cousteau? Let's explore these concepts further.

Calypso-Phot Camera

The Calypso-Phot camera was first introduced in 1960 by the French company Atoms. It quickly became a top-tier photographic device and even made its appearance in the James Bond film Thunderball. Nikon soon secured the production rights outside Europe and rebranded the camera as the Nikonos. The Calypso was compatible with Nikkor lenses and became a popular choice for photographers worldwide.

A fully waterproof underwater camera is one of the most popular photographic devices, and the Calypso-Phot camera was no exception. The device featured interchangeable lenses, flash connectivity, stunning ergonomics, and shutter speeds from 1/30th to 1/1000 of a second. It was also equipped with a built-in 35mm viewfinder and optics from legendary lens makers SOM Berthiot and Angenieux. The Calypso-Phot camera is still one of the most popular underwater cameras on the market today.

Designed by Jean de Wouters, the Calypso is the first self-contained underwater 35mm film camera. The Calypso was first manufactured by Atoms in France and distributed by La Spirotechnique in Paris. Its ability to take photographs at depths of up to 200 feet (60 meters) makes it an ideal tool for underwater photography.

Demand Regulator

Among the most significant inventions of Jacques Cousteau's life are the Aqualung and Demand regulator. These two items together enable a diver to breathe underwater in a self-contained environment. These devices have revolutionized how people interact with the ocean and have made underwater exploration easier than ever. The Aqualung was Cousteau's invention, and its patented design made it one of the most popular diving tools of all time.

Before the Aqua-Lung, divers were forced to rely on helmeted diving suits and diving bells to explore the depths of the sea. Besides, there was no way to breathe underwater without having to constantly replenish air cylinders. Cousteau's search for an underwater breathing apparatus prompted him to partner with Emile Gagnan, a French engineer at Air Liquide. Gagnan had previously invented a gas-generator engine valve. The two engineers developed a demand valve system for the Aqua-Lung, which allowed a diver to breathe compressed air on demand while adjusting to surrounding pressure.

During World War II, Cousteau's father was a consultant for a company that produced compressed gases. Emile Gagnan, who was working on the designs of valves, found the dangers of deep sea diving. The gas causes a condition known as nitrogen narcosis, which causes a person to act irrationally and experience intense pain. As a result, Cousteau spent his life gaining knowledge about the sea and writing about the importance of ocean conservation.

Turbosail System

The design of Jacques Cousteau's Turbosail system for Scuba diving is a combination of a smokestack and airplane wing. It is made up of an airfoil and a vertical tube with a mobile flap that acts like a wing. Both the airfoil and the movable flap create a negative pressure, which is converted into propulsion. This effect is the result of the Bernoulli effect.

The concept for a sailboat powered by wind was first conceived in the 1960s by a scientist named Anton Flettner. He made an attempt to test the system on a vessel called Buckau, but was unsuccessful. The design eventually evolved into the Turbosail. Jacques Cousteau and his team of engineers developed an advanced version of the sail and engine system and used it on his own ship, the Alcyone.

The turbosail is completely automatic, powered by a servosystem that consists of a multi-task computer and graphical interface. The central system controls 21 electronic, electromagnetic, and hydraulic controls, while 43 digital and analog sensors collect data on the vessel's condition. This information is then sent instantly via satellite, and the Alcyone prefigures the navigation of the future.

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